Sunday, April 15, 2007

What I did on my holidays

So Man in a Shed is back from a week with old university friends and their families in Normandy.

This has been his second stay in a French Gite ( Gites de France ) - and I have to heartily recommend the idea. Whilst France may be in an economic hole - its country side has great character. The Gite we stayed on was part of a farm and the kids loved seeing the cows - though MiaS noted that the number of cows dropped regularly over the time we were there.

Nearby was the French sea side town of Veules les Roses which is a great alternative to the perhaps more commercialised British Sea side equivalent. It also has a very short river - emerging from an underground source that allows for water cress to be grown - sold and eaten - on the spot. ( The taste of fresh water cress is very strong and mustardy - MiaS found himself crunching a lot of it ).

MiaS also pressurised his friends into a trip to Arromanches and the site of some of the D Day landings and one of the two Mulberry harbours. Although I knew of most of the facts in my head - seeing its remains is truly impressive. The scale, courage and daring of the whole enterprise puts the supine activities of the Royal Navy in the Gulf into real perspective . In essence British Engineers created a harbour and port of greater capacity than Dover in a matter of days that allowed the invasion of Europe to succeed. If the Mulberry harbours had failed then so would the invasion and Western Europe would have eventually fallen into the Soviet Empire.

Also of great interest was the Pegasus Museum (staffed by some wonderfully helpful and friendly people ). It tells the story of the airborne landings and of course in particular the famous capture of the now renamed Pegasus bridge. The local people have not forgotten the bravery of the men who came to liberate them and have erracted a great museum and recreated a Horsa Glider. Watch "The Longest Day" to get an idea of how they were used !
All in all a great little holiday - with some discussions on religion and politics - which I might address later - and plenty of distractions from every day life.

Normal blogging activities will be resumed tomorrow, when MiaS has to read his work email and return to the normal world. though I do feel like doing another I told you so blast on the state of the Royal Navy and the Gulf humiliation that the MSM only now seems to be getting to grips with.

I hope you had a good break also.

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